Construction document management has become one of the most tedious and time-consuming tasks in a project manager’s daily life. However, effective and efficient document control is absolutely crucial to any construction project. Without it, projects are hard to complete on time and budget, and even harder to defend. Contractors are moving from paper documentation to digital documentation which makes some aspects of it easier, but paperless operations have their challenges for managing and storing construction documents. These tips will help you manage your construction documents better.
What is Construction Document Management?
Construction document management is the process of managing construction documents. Whether this is on a hard drive or a network solution, it is the process of ensuring the construction documents are appropriately stored. Document management usually involves ensuring that the essential details about your business and documents are available when they’re needed. Preferably this doesn’t involve a lot of searching. Construction document management should ease day-to-day operations and reduce time spent on searching through documents, filing, and other repetitive tasks. Businesses that implement a strict document control process run better because they’ve simplified their operation.
Construction Documentation in Practice
Construction documentation and document management are essential in business. It includes contracts, drawings, specifications, BIM designs, estimates, and every document necessary to complete a project. These documents can change, new versions are created, and sometimes essential parties are not given the correct version or don’t have access to it. This is why construction documentation and document management is so crucial. A business must keep all of the versions straight, have accesses when necessary, and ensure they have the right version. Google Drive or Dropbox gives people access to documents across devices, but it doesn’t help organize documents by project or version.
Why Construction Document Management is Crucial in Construction
Construction document management is crucial in construction because mistakes in a document can lead to costly errors. Working off of the wrong plans or models can cost contractors lots of money to fix. Managers can avoid these problems by checking the document version. Document management also helps with construction document markups by ensuring that there is one version with the markups that everyone can see and not the field and office working on two sets of markups. And construction document management gives contractors the ability to offer their clients visibility into the project and where it is. Construction document management makes it easier to keep clients up to date on the project status.
Tips to Improve Construction Document Management
Since it is the start of the new year, now is the best time to work towards improving construction document management and documentation practices. These tips will help businesses breakdown the daunting task of managing documents into the simple components needed to improve.
Creating a Central Document Location
The first tip to improving construction document management is to create a central document or data location. This is one place where all project files will reside. By having all project documents, and documents in general, located in the same place it makes finding them easier. All files emailed to someone must have a copy saved in the central location. This means that no one has to search through emails to find the document.
While having all files in a central document location is good, it’s better to be able to access that location from anywhere. There is no guarantee that someone won’t need a file or document when they’re in the field. It’s easier for people to have access to that information from anywhere rather than having to be emailed the information. With the increased use of smartphones and tablets at sites, it is probably convenient to use a system that works with both mobile devices and computers.
Using Unique Codes or Identifiers
It’s important for companies to assign unique identifiers or codes to each document, especially if there are multiple versions. Not only does this stop long document names, but it also makes it easier for companies to search out different versions of the same document. This helps with version control which can help determine if anyone is missing a version or working off the correct version.
Executive Support and Sponsorship
With implementing any new platform or technique, it’s important to ensure that you have the support and sponsorship of company executives. They’re the ones that will drive the project past its initial stages and encourage everyone to continue. It is difficult to implement a new system or way of thinking without executive support. With executive support, any new program is a directive, and it’s easier to encourage people to use the system as intended.